TT #6 By: Paige

Using Picture Books to Address Racism with Dr. Althier Lazar

Dr. Althier Lazar


Dr. Althier Lazar believes that inequality, specifically racial, can be reproduced in schools. She mentions that racism is a problem that still exists by saying that there is white advantage in housing, education, employment, healthcare and justice in the court system still today. This is a problem that is often not addressed in the classrooms. Teachers tend to gloss over the problem in classes today. Dr. Althier Lazar believes that teachers are taught to ignore teaching race by being tricked into thinking it is not polite to address or that it's risky to bring it up in front of the students.

Why should we address racism in the class?

What we talk about in classrooms or don't talk about will effect how students think about and respond to social problems, specifically racism.

How can we improve teaching of racism?

First and Foremost, teachers must learn as much as they can about race starting with how it is socially and historically constructed. Some ways teachers can do this is by reading book and listening to lectures (suggestions: Derrick Bell, Tim Wise). Along with teachers becoming aware of the issue, parents should become aware of the subject as well the teachers so that they can support the teachers in the subject as well as answer student questions.

Another suggestion is allowing professional development funds to be used on teacher discussions on how to teach racism. The principal and administration should be in agreement on how teachers introduce racism and having teach discussions can further teachers knowledge of the subject as well as establish unity in how the topic is being taught.

Dr. Althier Lazar believes that the ways that racism is talked about in children's literature could make a big difference on how children think of the issue. She raises the question, "Do teachers have a say in critical issues being taught?" Lazar believes literacy is a good way to teach the issue given that students can connect to the reading and empathize with the characters.

Lazar strongly believes that creating a teacher education program with social equity focus including a course that addresses race would be a big start to changing the system!